Net pioneer GeoCities finally laid to rest

With Yahoo's closure of GeoCities, Internet community bids farewell to one of earliest Web startups, but several efforts underway to save its content.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor on

The closure of GeoCities marks the end of an era, as the Internet community says goodbye to the pioneering Web site creation and hosting service portal.

Yahoo shut down the site Monday, 10 years after it bought the Web property for almost US$3.6 billion in stock--though the value was later revised to US$4.5 billion.

The Internet giant in April posted a notice on the GeoCities site highlighting plans to take it down and not archive its content. The company advised users to save their content offline or move their pages to Yahoo's paid Web hosting service.

The loss of GeoCities, which provided for many a first foray into the world of self-publishing on the World Wide Web, sparked several efforts to preserve the portal. Nonprofit organization "_blank"="" class="c-regularLink" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">Internet Archive, which seeks to back up and make archived copies of sites online, announced a project dedicated to provide a "deep and thorough" archive of GeoCities' sites.

Another initiative from The Archive Team was also unveiled aiming to save GeoCities' pages and content.

Rise and fall of early dot-com
Founded in 1994, GeoCities offered users a free platform to aid in the creation of personal Web sites, providing 15MB of space with 3Gbps monthly bandwidth limit.

It organized Web sites into "neighborhoods" by their related content. For example, a site about entertainment would be slotted into the "Hollywood" neighborhood.

After acquiring GeoCities in 1999 at the peak of the dot-com bubble, Yahoo later realized in the wake of the dot-com bust that the Web traffic it had expected to pull from GeoCities' loyal following was overhyped. The buyout eventually failed to form a stable business case for Yahoo.

In an effort to make money outside GeoCities' advertising revenue, Yahoo attempted to shift some members to its paid accounts in 2001, with limited success.

The acquisition also riled some feathers when it imposed new terms of service that stated Yahoo would have full ownership of content posted on the site. GeoCities' reported 4 million members were asked to agree to these terms, or not be able to update their sites.

In response to the outcry, Yahoo later revised these terms and said it would not own content posted by users.

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